Saturday 22nd March – I’m a big fan of Diana East. With beads like this how can you not be – she has a great sense of humor that comes out in her beads. I love it.
Our days start off with breakfast in our apartments, but coffee is taken in a cafe on the way to the studio. This is the routine for everyday. We just stand at the bar and drink our not-quite-so-hot cappuccinos (cappuccinis!) as sitting down to drink costs a little more. But it’s fine as you don’t want to get settled and stuck at the cafe, you want to keep moving on to class to make beads. The espresso here is great by the way 🙂
Marianne and I head to the local Co-op supermarket and pick up some groceries before we get to class. Today is a sort of free day so there is no official starting time, but Claudia Trimbur-Pagel from France offered to do a demonstration of her stringer work so we are quick with the groceries and trot off to the studio. Really, we are here just for the glass not for grocery shopping – duh!
We got to the studio on time to see Claudia start her bead. She made a really cool Sandpiper on a bead (her signature bead, I think) and a bead with a lizard on it with some fancy stringer work on the back of it. Wow, her stringer control is amazing. I even saw her make an emergency stringer a hair strand thick from another stringer! She works with fine stringer and it’s quite impressive. There were lots of stringers left over after her demo, and after she left I started making a bead at her station…so I used her thin stringer to see what it’s like. Woah! That just evaporated into a ball. I tried again and again trying to understand how she did it. There is definitely a spot you have to know about under the flame. Where that spot is will be different every time and you just have to discover it for yourself. Quite tough but it comes with practice I guess. Sigh, back to balls of stringer for me!
We had 2 new ladies join us for classes that day, Esther and Nachuma. They both are very interested (and interesting) and they ask lots of questions which is great for me who always seems to stay quiet and not ask anything. Claudia is very patient in answering our questions which is super for us noobies.
Next up, Di comes into class and after we have a chat about her “Little Thinker” beads she gets stuck into making a one. Yes! I was really excited with this as I love her Little Thinkers. I remember seeing them for the first time last year at my beginner class and they just blew my mind. I saw them on the cover of the Jim Kervin book about her, and my mind just opened up, “You can stick bits of metal in glass?!!” Fantastic! I wanna do that! She also had her book there with her for sale, so I asked if she would sign one for me – yes again! I was so happy that afternoon 🙂
Her Little Thinker uses enamel and small pieces cut from fine mandrels and it has to be made carefully as it has a high chance of cracking. I tried making one later and it failed miserably with it’s feet popping off as I worked on his head. Di told me how it’s a little stinker to make and that is part of how it got it’s name, Little Thinker.
Dorothy told us of a glass blower that makes hollow beads nearby. She raved about him and suggested we all go see him after lunch. So we all trundle off to find Andrea Guibelli’s little shop almost hidden away in some back streets. He is worth finding just to see his technique. This guy blew my mind. He has a style when he makes his hollow beads that I can only describe as “Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am”! The way he makes one, it’s so fast, so assured and so unfussy (if that is a word)…it’s amazing that a a big bloke like him makes something so small and fragile! And they come out perfectly. He does this everyday so I’m sure he’s made thousands of them and knows exactly how to treat them. Whereas I would be all nervous and gentle with them, he is confident but careful, knowing exactly how to treat the glass. I’ve been raving about this guy since I’ve seen him, and I send all the other bead makers in the Murano Magic classes to go see him. I will buy some beads from him soon so will show you all once I get them.
The rest of the day I practised making hollow beads on a mandrel, inspired by Guibelli. They looked like a dogs breakfast at the start, but I managed to get them to work out okay. They were certainly not as delicate and fine as Andrea’s, but it will do for first ones. Plus his are blown hollow beads so are much finer than wound hollow beads. One day I’d like to blow the hollow bead like Guibelli.
Later that day Andrea Guibelli came over to our studio to say hello and to see what we were doing, thanks to Dorothy’s coaxing. He was impressed by Diana East’s work, saying in broken English that she does very difficult work. Di was tinkering around with some more of her murrini beads. She has an idea in her head and keeps working at it until she gets it right. These beads are getting better and better each day. One funny thing happened to her, she was trying to make a really green murrini, really nice and bright but somehow ended up making orange murrini. Pretty funny as we were all perplexed about how that could have happened.
Marianne and I head back to our apartment for the night. Our apartment is called the Palazzo and is a big walk to get to. The exercise is good but you feel so far from everything. But we did find out that we are practically next door to Effetre glass factory! And the way we have to walk takes us passed a large lit glass structure made by Simone Cenedese. It’s impressive and very beautiful.